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Friday, June 20, 2008

The infinite now of an Indiana June

June, slow down--I want to freeze you, June, I want to play Superman and you be Lois Lane, and I will fly around the earth and turn back time and turn back and turn back and have you never end.

July is the month of the year I love the most, the month of full-blown summer, yet it's June I want to last forever, for June holds all the promise of July, all the anticipation of fireworks and vacation and boat rides and long days, without the feeling that the end of summer lies around the corner in August with its start of school.

There's a day I always wait for in June--the perfect day. There's always one, in the first half of the month, that I want to preserve for infinity in my head--a day that's warm, but not hot; breezy but not windy; long but not langorous. The trees are finally, fully leafed; flowers have been planted, and are blooming, the threat of frost now long gone; the lilacs are faded, but the peonies are fragrant and full. Tulips trees and dogwoods have passed their prime, but the tall catalapas are full of blooms. That's the perfect June day.

Oh I'm not original in my fondness for June, am I? James Russell Lowell said it more famously in "The Vision of Sir Launfal":

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, grasping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there ’s never a leaf or a blade too mean
To be some happy creature’s palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest....

When I was a kid, June meant the last day of school, a couple fun weeks of Bible School at Fitchville United Methodist (snacks, lots of crafts, games outside), the first trips to the lake for swimming and fishing and picnics, and looking ahead to my dad's two-week July vacation, which was filled with Cedar Point and Toledo Zoo and Lake Erie islands and whatever new expedition he cooked up.

So stop, June! Linger a minute, slow down, let me feel your sun and your warmth and your potential for adventure for a little longer. Stay around as long as January seems to, whose days drag by deep in snow and frigidity. Come on, June, stay awhile. No June no don't go.

Come and linger in the infinite now of June.

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